Mastering The Art of Doing Nothing in Mendoza

Still parched and exhausted from our mountain desert adventures, my travel companion and I were facing a decision about where to go next from Santiago. We could hop on a 50 hour bus ride south to the wilds of Patagonia and hike in the mountains of Torres del Paine and Tierra del Fuego. Or we could take an 8 hour bus east across the border to Mendoza, the wine capital of Argentina.

Nine hours later, we toasted ourselves for making the right choice as we reclined on a patio on the trendy Avenida Villanueva Aristides with our $6 bottle of Malbec and enormous steak dinners.

Argentina (Photo: morguefile)

I am a very relaxed and easy-going person, but I had trouble adjusting to just how leisurely the pace of life was in Mendoza. Here’s a breakdown of how my days passed in this corner of the world:

Day One:

9 am – Wake up. Stroll through plazas, admire fountains, and eat steak sandwich for breakfast.

12 pm – Siesta starts. All stores close. Unable to purchase food or shop. Activities available: more strolling and admiring of plazas and fountains, napping, or renting a bicycle to toodle around the lovely Parque General San Martin.

5 pm – Siesta ends. Shops reopen. Only snacks available for purchase are gelato or sad pasty white ham sandwiches. Stroll through more plazas, read beneath leafy trees, and eat lunch-sized portion of gelato.

9 pm – Restaurants open but only serve drinks at this time. Enjoy $6 bottle of wine.

10 pm – Dinner service starts. Notice no one else is in this restaurant or any other on the street. Wolf down $7 Argentine steak that is the size of my head.

12 am – Leave to go to bed. Everyone else wanders in for dinner.

Day Two:

9 am – Wake up. Eat steak sandwich.

10 am – Rent bikes or join driven group tour of regional wineries. Either way, drink all day.

5 pm – Return in time for end of siesta. Drunkenly stroll through plazas, eat gelato and take a nap.

9 pm – Restaurants open; splurge on $8 bottles of wine. Wonder if this is a good idea when I have only eaten had wine and gelato since 10 am this morning.

10 pm – Dinner service starts. Do not care that everyone else eats after midnight. Stuff my face with wood-fired oven pizza and fresh pasta.

12 am – Leave to go to bed. Everyone else wanders in for dinner.

Day Three

Repeat Day One or Day Two.

Vino (Photo: morguefile)

Please note that in order to assist everyone in living life to the most leisurely, Mendoza also offers the following services:

1) Wine is available for purchases from the window displays of all stores, including those selling clothing, sports equipment and perfume.

2) When the town rebuilt after a major earthquake, they opted to make most public infrastructure wheelchair-accessible, ensuring that everyone can participate in the Mendocino art of doing nothing.

3) Most importantly, they provide home delivery service for gelato.

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